2020 was a premiere for the Raindance Film Festival. The event has never taken place online. Those interested were able to experience the festival from a distance, as reported by ScreenDaily.com, and it was well received, leading to the question of whether this could soon become the norm.
Certainly, many previous events have tried out such a format to generally positive reviews. Taking the lead from technologically innovative industries such as online gambling, they have tried to bottle the atmosphere of personal presence and share it with online viewers.
Could this be a viable long-term alternative that doesn't necessarily replace in-person festivals but works on the side and provides another way to experience the excitement? UKFilmReview.co.uk agrees and our honest opinion would be yes.
Can you fill in the electric atmosphere of a festival and share it online?
It is fair to say that the technology to stream events online has been around for a long time. Other industries have taken advantage of this for at least the past five years, from motorsports to competitive video games, but the majority of film festivals haven't taken advantage of the opportunity.
The worry so often cited is that sharing such events on the internet could take something away from them that doesn't convey their incredible atmosphere and make it less attractive for movie buffs to visit them in person, which means they have networking opportunities and opportunity miss like-minded people.
But are these fears justified? The answer most likely lies in personal opinion, but the overwhelming success of the 2020 Raindance Film Festival suggests that the two could easily exist in harmony with each other.
The many advantages of an online experience
It's fair to say that an online event doesn't provide an opportunity to connect with like-minded people, but there is a lot it can offer its audience. First and foremost, the internet experience is arguably more convenient.
This year's online festival required the virtual attendees merely to log in on their laptop or smartphone to stream the event and saved many people from traveling long distances to be there in person. This has almost certainly had a positive effect on visitor numbers. Many who do not live locally found it easier to take part in the festival.
In addition, the lack of travel has helped reduce the cost of many to attend and save on gasoline, train, and plane tickets. It also proved more economical for the festival's hosts who didn't have to rent a venue or pay large overheads.
In fact, this is a model we've seen in many other industries, with online gambling being a prime example. Sites like Bonusfinder.com are a testament to this trend and offer a variety of promotions that indicate how much more economical internet alternatives are. Interestingly, this cost cut actually helped attract a larger audience overall by making the pastime more accessible than its physical counterpart.
If we are to welcome new faces to the film festival scene, it may not only make sense to continue hosting events online, it may also be necessary, and in our opinion anything that encourages a new wave of interest can and should be followed.
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